Getting Ready

Discussion in 'LUKE CLAYTON' started by Luke Clayton, Mar 24, 2008.

  1. Luke Clayton

    Luke Clayton New Member

    Messages:
    831
    State:
    Texas
    "Getting Ready" by Luke Clayton

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    Luke Clayton


    Spring turkey season is at hand! Texas gobblers are sounding off from the ranch country around San Angelo to the Pineywoods north of Clarksville, to the creek bottom in Brown County, and many places between! There is simply nothing more exciting in the outdoors than to have a big gobbler respond to your hen yelps and close the distance, coming ever closer and closer to you until, he appears, adorned in colors that Monet could not duplicate. To my way of thinking, there is nothing more beautiful than a strutting gobbler with a background of bluebonnets and Indian Paint Brushes.
    I plan to be turkey hunting across much of the state in upcoming weeks and, from all accounts, this is shaping up to be an excellent season with plenty of mature gobblers, as well as young Jakes. Jake decoys can be very helpful when tricking a mature gobbler into closing the distance to your hen decoy. There’s nothing a big boss bird despises more than a young whippersnapper approaching what he believes to be a receptive hen (your decoy).

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    Photo by Luke Clayton


    I’ve hunted turkeys for the past quarter-century and have had the privilege of spending time afield with some truly great turkey hunters. It’s one thing to shoot a gobbler in the fall from a deer stand with a rifle but, that’s not really turkey hunting. This is turkey shooting, not hunting, it lacks the thrills and challenges of calling a bird within bow or shotgun range during the spring season.

    One day, gobblers will be gobbling their heads off in response to everything from the sound of a slamming pickup door to the yelp of your box call, the next day they might go completely silent and, even when hunting great turkey country, you will think there is not a bird within ten miles; that’s the essence of spring turkey hunting and a couple of reasons why the endeavor is so exciting.

    As though you need anything more to get you ‘fired up’ for the opener, my conversation with three of my turkey hunting buddies should be enough to have you dusting off the hen decoys and chalking up the ole’ box calls. Mike Ford, who owns Rio Rojo Rancho hunting ranch up in Red River County north of Clarksville, says the big eastern gobblers in his section of the woods have been sounding off the past few days. Thanks to a very successful restocking program, the eastern birds are once again plentiful in many parts of their native range in eastern Texas.

    Around Graford, Outfitter John Bryan at the Holt Ranch says this will be an exceptional spring for turkey hunting. “We’ve been hearing the big gobblers sound off the past week and numbers of birds are high. We’re seeing lots of mature Toms as well as juvenile birds. I expect to see some long beards harvested here in the next few weeks.” says Bryan.

    Robert Hodges, up in Hall County near Memphis, Texas, says there is a good carry over of mature gobblers on the creek bottoms and draws where he guides turkey hunters. “We have lots of birds up in this country and there’s relatively light hunting pressure. It’s a good area to come prospecting for a big gobbler. There are places in this country where gobblers live out their lives without ever seeing a turkey hunter. I’ve been hearing the gobblers for the past two weeks and seen several long beards displaying and strutting on the edge of some of the winter wheat fields. I’m expecting our hunters to do very well this spring.” Hodges added.


    TIPS FOR A SUCCESSFUL SPRING TURKEY HUNT

    Locate your gobbler before you hunt. Use an owl hooter or crow call and get the bird to sound off from his roost late in the afternoon. Then, set up a couple hundred yards away the next morning and begin calling.

    Use decoys. A single hen decoy set in an area with good visibility such as the edge of a field or clearing will help greatly in getting the gobbler within shotgun or bow range. A Jake (young gobbler) decoy positioned beside the hen decoy often helps bring a big gobbler in.

    Wear camo from head to toe.

    Have shotgun or bow in shooting position BEFORE you actually see the approaching gobbler, and then simply adjust your line of sight to the bird. This will help avoid unnecessary movement.

    If a gobbler hangs up, try changing positions. He will often think the ‘hen’ he’s hearing is on the move and rush in to catch up with her.

    Go to your downed bird immediately after the shot. Turkeys leave little or no blood trail and are difficult to track. You want your bird anchored where you shoot him.

    Don’t quit hunting too soon. If you don’t harvest your gobbler during early morning when he flies down from his roost, stay in the woods. After the hens are bred during early morning, they will often head to their nest. The gobblers will be searching for other receptive hens. Many turkeys are harvested between the hours of 10 am. and mid afternoon.

    If you’re still looking for a spot to hunt spring turkey, John Bryan at Holt Ranch near Graford says he still has a few openings. His numbers are: 940-549-7427 home 940-452-3415 cell.

    Catch Luke on the Luke Clayon Outdoor Radio Show at www.catfishradio.com
     
  2. Luke Clayton

    Luke Clayton New Member

    Messages:
    831
    State:
    Texas
    From all accounts, this is shaping up to be a very good turkey season. Lots of birds up around Gaford, as well as many parts of Texas. If you're still lookiing for a good spot to hunt, contact John Bryan at the Hold River Ranch. Good hunting to you! Luke Clayton